Anthony Davis startled many on Sunday night when he went so far as to say he feels pain in his shoulder every play. With an easier game on the second night of a back-to-back and having gone into the locker room the night before with another bump/bruise, the Los Angeles Lakers are playing it safe with their superstar big man and giving him a night off as they take on the Golden State Warriors.
It’s the smart move, even given how much fun it would’ve been to watch him torch the undersized and much less-talented Warriors frontcourt.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports first had the update, after such a decision had been speculated about all morning:
Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis (shoulder and rib soreness) will not play tonight against the Golden State Warriors, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) November 13, 2019
What remains to be seen is whether this is a one-game thing or if his absence will hold him out longer than just Wednesday night. No one to this point has even hinted at a more serious injury, though given the way the Lakers handle such information regularly, that doesn’t necessarily mean much.
It’s going to be interesting to see how Frank Vogel handles the rotation with Davis out. So far this season, Davis has been playing a shade over 35 minutes per game, so his absence will leave quite a bit of opportunity for whoever steps up.
The logical move is for Kyle Kuzma — especially coming off the game he just had the night before — to slide into the starting lineup. He would help space the floor and playing against a defense as bad as Golden State’s could even further help get him going.
Vogel could also play a traditional point guard and push everyone into their more natural positions, but that would feel like overthinking it. Rajon Rondo also hasn’t been cleared for back-to-backs, so if Vogel went with this strategy, it would stretch thin the rotation at that position.
The most important thing here is that the Lakers made the correct call in giving Davis a night off. Hopefully, it’s what the doctor ordered and he’ll be back to 100% as soon as possible — or as close to that as he can be.